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Irina Klimova

The idea of observing Shabbat lies in the biblical history of the creation of the world: in six days God created heaven and earth, plants, animals and, finally, men. On the seventh day He rested (in Hebrew, "Shavat") from His labors.

For many centuries, the Jews count the days from Saturday to Saturday - from Shabbat to Shabbat. All other days of the week have no names - day one, day two, etc. Three thousand years Shabbat (Sabbath day) is a special one in the Jewish way of life. The evening of the sixth day (Friday) in the synagogue is solemnly greeted by the "queen Shabbat".

After the end of Shabbat, we have to say goodbye to "Queen Sabbath" and return to everyday life. For this, the ritual of "Khavdal" is needed - literally "separation". To perform this ritual, there are several items: a candle with two wicks (or two candles with conjoined wicks, a wine cup and a special box for incense – bsamim or hadas.

These boxes are made mainly of metals: silver, bronze, brass. During the ritual they are handed over from hand to hand. The smell of incense (cloves, saffron, other spices) is drained from a multitude of holes made in the body of the object. Warming from the warmth of the hand, the smell of bsamim's content increases. All the following week, it remains in memory and recalls the sanctity, the beauty of Shabbat.

The original forms of bsamim, known today, were formed in the early Middle Ages in Western Europe. Many of them resemble the architecture of the chapels, the tower of the churches and the town halls. This is due to the fact that often for various reasons, Jews had to order ritual items to Christian jewelers, and they associated bsamim with the forms of tabernacles used in the Christian liturgy. Later in Eastern Europe, a lot of the most diverse, most bizarre forms appeared.












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